Mark Isham is a composer that has been around now for a few years and is known for his highly innovative approach to scoring movies, he has a reputation for mainly being a  brilliant jazz trumpet player, the composer has penned a number of highly inspiring film scores that are not only fully symphonic but are grandiose and powerful in their overall sound and style. Two of his scores have been released recently, GODFATHER OF HARLEM and TOGO, the latter being a Disney production. It is obvious when listening to both of these scores just how versatile and talented that Isham is, because each score has to it a very different sound both being innovative and entertaining. GODFATHER OF HARLEM is a more contemporary sounding work with the composer employing synthesised sounds and instrumentation. Isham employs a somewhat minimalist score within the movie, but it is an effective one, there are a number of upbeat and soulful tracks, with vocals provided by Emile Sandae the track RANSOM for example is quite retro sounding with organ, piano and brass leading and then becoming a backing track to wordless up tempo vocals. Isham, has created here a score that is perfect for the movie and fits like the proverbial glove, but it also entertains on another level and without the images it was written to enhance is still affecting. Track number four, MARGARET SNOOPS for example, there is no real melody or even a hint of an actual theme, but it still attracts and fixates because of the sound and the instrumentation employed. The same be said of track number five, REUNION, a slow and bluesy sounding guitar performs a simple theme accompanied by brushed timpani and a lazy sounding organ and strumming guitar, which all go to create an easy going but still effective piece. The score I wold say is 90 percent kind of laid back, but there are a few up tempo pieces which seem to appear out of nowhere that take the listener a little by surprise, these tracks elevate and heighten the overall sound of the soundtrack and make an effective score into an effective and entertaining one, its one of those albums that you put on and before you know it it’s finished, and that is because the music is totally absorbing and enthralling. Recommended.

available on sony classical.

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